📰 THE HINDU – CURRENT NOTE 10 February
💡 SEBI to form panel to facilitate crowdfunding
SEBI is forming an advisory committee on financial technology or fintech-related issues, which would look at safeguards that can be put in place to facilitate crowdfunding of ‘genuine’ ventures and mobilise more household savings into the financial markets.
- The committee, that will also include other experts and representatives from different sections of the fintech industry, will be formed.
- It will help SEBI to spread the market and mobilise domestic household savings for the growth of the country by way of providing risk capital as well as debt investments.
- The regulator has concerns about letting anonymous entities raise funds without any safeguards which the advisory committee will also examine the best way forward to facilitate crowdfunding of “genuine” ventures.
- A discussion paper was issued allowing crowdfunding, but most comments we received, especially from your industry (tech start-ups) termed the proposed norms as very restrictive.
- To raise money in the bond market, one has to file a draft red herring prospectus, make lots of disclosures, get a credit rating and appoint a debenture trustee.
- SEBI is holding fresh discussions with representatives of start-ups and venture capital funds to assess why a single start-up hasn’t been listed yet on the special platform created by the regulator for mature ventures looking to go public.
- The system was created after discussions and a realisation that large tech start-ups were going to mature soon.
💡 Centre to send experts to expedite talks at WTO
- The Centre will send an expert team to the World Trade Organisation headquarters in Geneva next month to ensure that negotiations on food security issues and the proposed global services pact are expedited, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
- Sitharaman raised the need to ensure that the processes on outstanding issues — including arriving at a permanent solution to the issue of public stock-holding for food security purposes — of the WTO’s Doha Round negotiations are completed before the December 2017 Ministerial Conference (MC) in Argentina.
- The Minister maintained that India was against introduction of ‘new issues’ including e-commerce into the formal agenda of the WTO level negotiations on liberalisation of global trade without consensus among all the WTO Members.
- The Minister also reiterated India’s opposition to attempts by some rich countries to work towards a global investment agreement at the WTO-level that would incorporate a contentious Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism.
- She said, India would consider the proposed multilateral disciplines on fisheries subsidies, provided they ensure that the country’s resource-poor fisherfolk were protected.
💡 AirAsia India compliant with Indian laws: DGCA
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will not cancel the air operator permit granted to AirAsia India as it hasn’t found any violation of ‘substantial ownership and effective control’ norms as alleged by its rivals.
- The aviation regulator released a report based on directions of the Delhi High Court which had sought DGCA’s response to theFederation of Indian Airlines (FIA)’s plea alleging that the brand licensing agreement signed between AirAsia India and its foreign airline partner AirAsia Berhad in 2013, was not considered while granting licence to operate flights.
- The FIA, which represents IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir, had moved the Delhi High Court seeking a review of the air operator permit granted to AirAsia India.
- The body had alleged that the day-to-day operations of AirAsia India were controlled from Malaysia as a result of the BLA signed in April 2013, violating the substantial ownership and effective control norms — a charge AirAsia India had denied.
💡 Forest fire: Kerala to enlist NASA help
- With summer around the corner, the Kerala Forest Department is planning to make use of NASA’s satellite communication system to detect forest fires in the State.
- Forest officials, including range officers and divisional forest officers (DFO), will receive real time SMS alerts about the exact location of forest fires.
- Forest fire is one of the major causes of degradation of forests in the country, according to the FSI. The Dehradun based Forest Survey of India (FSI) will provide the inputs from NASA.
Kerla Fire Alert:
- Kerala has 11,300 sq. km. of forest cover, mainly in these three districts. Some 165 forest fires occurred in Kerala in 2016 with the highest number recorded in Wayanad and Idukki, 30 each, followed by Palakkad, 28.
- The SMS-based alert system is being adopted close on the heels of the department switching over to the once-prevalent wireless communication network to improve surveillance of Maoist infiltration.
💡 Aadhaar number mandatory for subsidies: Centre
- The Consumer Affairs and Food Ministry issued a notification that Proof of possession of ‘Aadhaar’ number will be mandatory to avail oneself of the subsidised food grains or cash transfer of food subsidy under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
- The notification under the Aadhaar Act requires individual beneficiaries having ration cards to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication to receive subsidies.
- This condition will also be applicable for all new beneficiaries.
- This notification shall come into effect from 08-2- 2017 in all States and Union territories, except the States of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.
- Beneficiaries under NFSA who do not possess the Aadhaar Number or are not yet enrolled for Aadhaar but are desirous of availing [themselves of] subsidies under NFSA are required to make application for Aadhaar enrolment by June 30, 2017.
💡 Nilambur teak set to enter elite club of products with GI tag
- Nilambur teak, internationally known for its superior quality and elegant appearance, will soon be added to the list of Kerala produces with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
- It was the Britishers who identified the superior quality of teak from Nilambur plantations and forests.
- Later, the region became the major supplier of quality teak in the world. As its fame crossed the seven seas, Nilambur was christened the Mecca of Teak.
- Tonnes of timber, blessed with superior mechanical and physical properties as well as incomparable aesthetic appearance, were taken to London and other parts of the world.
- GI registration of Pokkali rice, one of the first Kerala produces to get the GI tag, meanwhile, has been renewed.
- Other Kerala products with GI registration include- Vazhakulam Pineapple, Wayanadan rice varieties Jeerakasala and Gandhakasala, Tirur Betel vine, Central Travancore Jaggery and Chengalikodan Nendran, a banana variety.
💡 House of Commons passes Brexit Bill
- The British government is on track to trigger the Brexit process by the end of March 2017, after the legislation authorising the government to start negotiations passed through the House of Commons on 8 February 10, 2017 without any amendments.
- The legislation will now pass to the House of Lords, which will consider it when it returns from recess on February 20.
- The unamended Bill was passed following two days of debate this week, as attempts to put conditions on the Bill were defeated.
- The government clarified, however, that Parliament would have the final say on the deal agreed with Europe after the two-year negotiation process — a move that was billed by the Labour as a “concession”.